Highlights In Today's Reading:
A harvest of generosity (chap. 9). Use the weapons of God against the Devil (10:4-6). Boast in the Lord (10:17). Guard against false teachers (11:1-15). In ourselves we are nothing; guard against pride (12:7). We are weak but God is strong (12:9). Check yourselves out regularly to be sure you're focused on Jesus (13:5).
Paul lived for one purpose: To preach the Gospel in the regions beyond (10:16). Because of his great love for Christ he faced frequent sufferings. He recalls: Five times received I forty stripes (lashes) save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep . . . in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches (11:24-28)!
Despite all this, Paul knew that earthly life is a brief, but necessary, preparation for eternity, and his greatest desire was to please his Lord while here and to encourage others to be prepared to meet Him.
Without hesitation Paul could say: What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. . . . and I count all things but loss (worthless) for the excellency (priceless privilege) of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (worthless), that I may win Christ (His approval) (Phil. 3:7-8).
Much of our world has never once heard that they are eternally lost and must be born again (John 3:3-7). Like Paul, we have a responsibility to reach our world with the Word of God and the Good News of eternal life. Surely everyone should have the opportunity of hearing, at least once, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15).
A Bible Pathway subscription is one reliable way to encourage your friends to read all the Bible. God will bless every sacrifice we make to help someone find Christ as his Savior.
We need to consider our priorities — do they bring us closer to the Lord or take us further from Him? At the end of life can we say with Paul: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (II Tim. 4:7)?
Thought for Today:
Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:4).
9:2 forwardness =readiness; 9:5 bounty =gift; 9:7 of necessity =under compulsion; 9:13 experiment =experience, proof, evidence; 10:13 without =beyond; 11:2 espoused =betrothed, engaged; 11:3 beguiled =deceived, seduced; simplicity =sincere faithfulness; 11:5 a whit behind =at all inferior to; 11:6 rude in speech =unskilled as an orator; 12:7 buffet =discipline; 12:17 make a gain of you =take advantage of or exploit you; 12:20 swellings =pride; self-assertion; 12:21 lasciviousness =lustfulness; 13:6 reprobates =rejected, not genuine Christians.
For II Cor. 9:9: See Ps. 112:9. II Cor. 10:17: See Jer. 9:24. II Cor. 13:1: See Deut. 19:15.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Miss Helayne Abrams • Staff: Mary Kay Wagner • Government Official: Sen. Richard Burr (NC) • Country: Monaco (32,000) in southeastern France • Major languages: French and English • No open evangelism permitted • 90% Roman Catholic; 7% Protestant; 1% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal what is not pleasing to Him (Ps. 139:23-24).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 18:33